Feb 22, 2010

Solving Problems - 121

...a few of the problems of farm life and their solutions...

Every day at Eden 121 we face a variety of problems on the farm.  That is one aspect of  farm life that can make it interesting AND challenging  at the same time.

Here are some examples of  normal, day-to-day, and also some abnormal and NOT  (thank heavens..) day to day situations that come up and how we have solved them.

The Problem:
     In the milk room we had to find a way to stop the water and milk that splashed onto the door frame leading into the adjacent unheated haybarn.  The moisture would  freeze and thaw, rotting the wood frame all the way through.
The Solution: 
      As simple as putting up a shower curtain (the doorway is behind it) so that when the splashing came - see the black lateral pipe under the big glass globe and the hose that leads from it? - that's where the splashing came from - it never hit the door frame,  just the shower curtain.  SO SIMPLE!

The Problem:
         Look very carefully at the tiny piece of black tail sticking out from behind the bottom of the barn door in the left picture. That tail belongs to Strima, our black barn cat, one member of the team of Strima and Missan-Bindi, the two cats on the farm.  She can open the main barn door by herself in the winter because the ice stops the upper hook from staying closed.  Then she and her cohort in crime sneak into the barn, hide in the billows of hay until we are gone and contaminate the hay, making the cows sick.  (Bad cats - lucky we love them...).

The Solution:
     Gustav bent a piece of metal and made an extender hook that fits through the permanent hook and makes it possible to keep the ice-laden door closed until we are finished in the barn.  Also simple, but BRILLIANT!

The Problem:

          "City Slickers" like me did not grow up learning to walk on uneven surfaces.  On the farm there are so many slippery and uneven places that within a six month period of time I broke BOTH arms! (Overnight my "good arm" became my "bad arm" and vice versa...).  The break on the right arm required a titanium plate (shown above in the X-ray) and yes, those are titanium pins traversing the bone.

The Solution: 
     Hans took my farm boots down to "Däckservice", the tire store and auto repair shop in the village,  and had Ulf, the resident Auto-Guru stud them just like a tire...NO MORE SLIPPING!

The Problem:
Örnsköldsvik Airport
Hans, the nature lover, has had a lifetime of travelling back and forth around the globe and home again.  He HATES airports.  When he is away teaching other doctors and caring for patients the part that is the hardest for him is the air travel. The Örnsköldsvik Airport, about an hour and a half from us, was beginning to feel like a second home.
The Solution:
We listed Gustav's outgrown Kawasaki on the Blocket (Sweden´s version of Ebay),  sold it in a hot second for a wonderful price, and on the same Blocket found this one-owner  1977 Volvo sedan in a village called Näsåker, only 25 minutes away from us.  Terrific!  It is like new, was never driven in the winter, had incredibly low mileage, and made it possible for Hans to take our family car with the CD player etc., and drive through his beloved forests to his assignments. And we had a reliable car here on the farm for our everyday needs and to get us to church and back every Sunday.  NO MORE AIRPORTS FOR PAPA!

As a sidenote -
The only possible drawback of this miracle vehicle was that,  in the interest of safety, as was customary in 1977, whenever you got into the car there was a weight-activated,  foghorn-like buzzer that would sound constantly until all seatbelts were fastened.  It was so loud it would split your head open.  We were pretty sick of it and the instant pressure it created to snap the seatbelt into it's sometimes-hard-to-find receptacle.
Gustav had hurt his behind in a sports accident a few days before and was being careful not to sit down too hard for fear of the pain.  So when I picked him up at the schoolbus one evening and he got into the new Volvo by supporting his weight on his heels and suspending himself above the front passenger's seat, I thought it was in deference to his tender bottom.  But no, he had discovered that by raising and lowering his trunk and barely touching the passenger's seat, he could "buzz out" a tune using his behind with the seat belt signal.  I have pleaded with him to allow me to make a video clip of him doing it for this blog, but he has declined....something about his reputation or something.....

And finally-
The Problem:

When Hans and I met and married three years ago we both knew it was the right decision.  We loved each other and were excited to be together.  We are both strong-willed people with definite opinions.  Perhaps that is why we have each survived some of life's greatest challenges.  But as we entered into this partnership, the changes in both our lives were enormous. With a new relationship, a blended family of 17 children and 24 grandchildren between us,  a new home and country and language for me, teenagers to raise and a farm to run,

there were bound to be stresses...

The Solution: 
     This post started with a picture of the kitchen sofa in the morning.  Below is a picture of the same sofa taken in the afternoon, with the light streaming through from a surprisingly far away window.

          Whenever there is a disagreement or a difference of opinion.. 
Whenever feelings are hurt or misunderstandings occur..
Whenever we feel far apart and it seems like it would be so much easier to just withdraw..
One of us always says: 

"We need to go to the kitchen sofa for a minute"

and we do. 

 It is not particularly comfortable.  The seat is hard even with the pad and the sheepskins from our own sheep on it.  The pillows are thick but not particularly soft.  No matter what throw is there, it is always too short.

But it works every time.
It is The Solution because it represents a willingness to see the problem in a new light - re-setting it in the context of gospel principles, to talk and understand, to forgive and try again, and most of all, to remember what is the most important part of all of this - our love for each other and the amazing joy we feel in our life together.

Problem solved!


em-il-ie said...

I love that picture of you and Hans. I was just re-making our Family Photo book for the girls and wondered where I could find a good photo of both of you together. Voila!

You look so happy and talk about a handsome couple!

Much Love, Emilie

MStevenson said...

Gustav we all want to see that video! It would make you more popular! :)

Aunite, that was such a cute post and yes, that couch looks so uncomfortable! :)

I love that you said "a willingness to see the problem in a new light " you need that in a marriage! For sure!

Lauralee said...

I would never call that a SOFA, in fact it looks like a HARDA. No matter how many pillows and skins are put on it, I won't change my mind!

Anonymous said...

We would like to thank You and Hans for your hospitality last week in Eden. Nina and I had a wonderful time talking with you while degusting your delicious blue and gold cheeses. Surprisingly….we managed to finish all of them before leaving Eden yesterday. And please save some time in you busy agenda to continue writing your great blog whose intelligence and humor are inspiring, and not only in finding new ways of using these hard and old Swedish sofas.


Etienne & Nina